Macrolides in the treatment of asthma

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Purpose of reviewThis review summarizes the importance of macrolide therapy in the treatment of asthma, discusses macrolide mechanisms of action, and outlines new clinical data supporting their use. The effects of macrolides on both the innate and adaptive immune responses are discussed.Recent findingsSubacute bacterial infection with both typical and atypical organisms contributes to poor asthma control. Identification of pathogens using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cultures from bronchoscopic samples directs antibiotic therapy and improves asthma control. PCR identification of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae in asthmatics best identifies the macrolide responsive phenotype.SummaryBecause of their effect on protein synthesis, macrolides have both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Both mechanisms appear to be important in their clinical efficacy in treating a wide variety of pulmonary disorders, including asthma.

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